EP requested that BSEACD refer all of the contested cases to SOAH. Under the law, as the applicant, they have the right to do this. This means that EP has to pay for the SOAH hearing, and they have deposited $70,000 with BSEACD to sign a contract with SOAH to conduct the hearing. Remember, the SOAH Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is just a fact finder and NOT the final decision maker. When this hearing is over, the ALJ will issue a proposal for decision (PFD) to the BSEACD Board, and the Board will make the final decision on EP’s application. However, they can only rule differently from the ALJ’s recommendation if they find that the ALJ incorrectly interpreted a law or did not take into account certain evidence.
The first step is the preliminary hearing. This has been scheduled for September 17th at 10:00 AM. (Details below). This is where the ALJ will determine whether the protestants (those that filed contested case requests) have standing to do so. Essentially, you have to prove that you could be injured by EP’s proposed permit. EP has agreed not to challenge TESPA’s standing in this case. With over 100 landowners who could demonstrate a potential injury, EP must have realized that it would be a waste of time and money to fight TESPA on standing. So this is a big victory!
TESPA will be at the hearing on September 17th and will support the County in their quest for standing along with some of the individual landowners who will need to prove that they will be impacted.
It would be wonderful if a lot of people came to the hearing to support the other parties. Although it is preliminary, it is important that the ALJ know how important this is to the community.
We need to pack the room! Please attend if you can.
The address for SOAH is:
The docket number is 957-18-4985. The room will be posted the day of the hearing.